A 1959 Gibson Les Paul Conversion & a David Allen P51

14 Nov A 1959 Gibson Les Paul Conversion & a David Allen P51

Another long time project that I have was to “fix” an old original, 1952 style Gibson Les Paul – originally started as a Gold Top in the early 1950s – that I had bought in Florida probably 20 years ago.

It was my first 1950s Les Paul conversion, and the conversion itself had been done horribly. Never the less, I played the guitar for years live and at home. It was my main Les Paul for a long time, until the Lentz conversion came about years later.  I don’t have a picture of what the guitar looked like when I first got it. The guitar was refinished a number of times, eventually staying in gold with P90s (replicas) as its last condition before I decided to have it properly converted in 1959 style again – but this time, done as it should have been.


Finally Converted Properly.


It took almost two years to friend Luca of Cloe Guitars, but the guitar is now successfully converted. Luca did a number of incredible things to it. The first one – wasn’t easy for me – was to replace the neck. The neck was probably not its original one from the start – it had been reset for sure, but it had a very strange shape, definitely too thin, probably a 1970s neck anyways. Not only it didn’t have the proper angle in the 1950s Les Paul body, but it was shaped too strange for the guitar to get its full range of sound. So Luca swapped it with one that was carefully modelled after other conversions of mine.

The other major thing that Luca did was to apply the famous/infamous thin layer of figured maple. We didn’t change the original maple top naturally, we just added a super thin layer of flames! The way that the top luthiers in the world do for many conversions if this type.

The guitar will much likely now go to Billy at Rock N’ Roll Relics to be properly painted – sunburst, of course, just a super thin layer of Nitro paint relic’d to look like the real thing. No original PAF for now, and I probably don’t even intend to, since there are now incredible replicas out there. And in fact, one that – I’ve said it before – fell in love with is David Allen’s own Mustang P51, which replicates a hot 1959 Gibson PAF. I love how David was able to shape the sound of this pickup.


An Original Gibson Les Paul from the 1950s, now properly converted into a 1959 style Gibson Les Paul by Luca at Cloe Guitars.

You get to hear it here.













It was played on my 1976 original Marshall Super Lead, 1959 Model, on a Marshall original 1979 Cabinet loaded with original Celestion G12-65s, and miked with two SM57s, one being an original early 1970s Shure SM57 “Unidyne III”. No Equalisation added. At some point, a TSR™ kicks in.

Fil "SoloDallas" Olivieri

We Are Rock 'N Roll People.

  • avatar
    Posted at 19:18h, 24 November

    If you want I can send to you some pictures of the guitar before that conversion was done 🙂

  • avatar
    Posted at 16:15h, 15 November

    Do you have any pictures from the previous conversion you did Fil? i know u dont have the original pictures, but what about from when u were using the “poor conversion” state of this les paul?

  • avatar
    Posted at 13:18h, 15 November

    Fil, I own a 2012 LP Traditional Satin Gold with those zebra Pickups, the ’57 Classic Plus. Supposedly it should have the same gain and a close timbre as the P90. The guitar is amazing, easy to play 60’s profile neck and a heavy-heavy weight – easier to play than my 2010 SG Standard. Though, I don’t like much of it’s pickups.
    Do you think, if I replace it with the P51, it will give me more gain and a more classic aproach timbre?
    I play a lot of punk/r’n’r with it, such as Social Distortion, so I wonder if it would sound classic and chunchy as well with the P51 (PAF replica).
    Sorry for my messy english.
    Thanks a lot!

    • avatar
      Posted at 14:46h, 18 November

      Eslavo, sorry for the delay.
      I think that the classic ’57s are pretty hot – I forget this very moment what their DC resistance is, but I remember them being hot. I think the P51s are in the 8.5kohm DC resistance range, which I still consider hot.
      It’s not only though – clearly – a matter of hot or not; it’s a matter of “sound” shaping too. And the P51s are definitely different from a classic ’57. I would NEVER even think twice between the two. I’d shove the P51s (I have! And into a “real” 1950s Les Paul – and I am going to do it again in a 1968 conversion I have). I can grant you that the P51s will be VERY crunch for you. But they will also have a specific voicing that I truly like much. Hope it helps? Fil 😉

  • avatar
    Posted at 22:26h, 14 November

    Are the P51’s done in development Fil? Last time I talked to David he said you were about to test a new prototype. Is this the final product?

    • avatar
      Posted at 22:37h, 14 November

      P51s have been there for a while and were meant to be 1959 (year) Gibson PAF Replicas. The two more prototypes I am about to test are instead a specific, new pickup (of Allen’s) aimed at replicating a later in time style of Gibson pickup called T-top.

      • avatar
        Posted at 23:21h, 14 November

        ahhhhh, ok, that’s the one I want.

        • avatar
          Posted at 14:47h, 18 November

          One should have been installed already as we speak (now). The guitar should be back here today or tomorrow for more “public” testing 🙂

  • avatar
    Posted at 21:36h, 14 November

    Hey Fil, it sounds really awsome….but looks a bit..you know…you should colour it…by a colour of your choice..it would definetly look better.

    • avatar
      Posted at 21:57h, 14 November

      Haha! But of course!
      If you read the text I did mention it’s going to be painted by Rock N Roll Relics!

  • avatar
    Posted at 15:20h, 14 November

    sounds great fil 🙂

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